Detroit Horse Power uniquely addresses two persistent problems facing the Motor City: the shortage of opportunities for metro Detroit’s vulnerable populations (especially children) and the abundance of vacant land. Through riding and caring for horses in a safe and enriching space, program participants learn valuable skills that set them up for future success. Our facility, built on repurposed vacant land, will contribute to the city’s renewal and be a center for community events and equestrian services.
Detroit Horse Power’s vision is to give at-risk youth a safe and enriching space that furthers their future development. Horses teach children critical traits, including perseverance, empathy, responsible risk-taking, confidence, and self-control. Detroit Horse Power’s future urban equestrian facility will be built on repurposed vacant land in the city, contributing to community revitalization. The barn will manage horse boarding and equestrian event businesses, filling a market need for metro-Detroit equestrians and increasing our financial sustainability.
In 2015, Detroit Horse Power incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and launched two pilot summer camps serving 18 youth. In 2016, these programs grew to serve 91 youth over six weeks of camps at our host facility, Ringside Equestrian Center in New Hudson, MI. These programs taught kids how to ride and take care of horses and brought in guest speakers to expose participants to different equine professions. But the most important lessons are what horses can teach kids about themselves: the confidence that comes from riding, taking responsibility for another living being, not giving up when things get hard, and more. These lifelong lessons that our kids learn through their horse experiences will help them succeed in school and in life. In 2018, we continued our growth, offering over 100 youth opportunities to connect with and learn from horses across 8 weeks of summer programming and expanding our year-round after-school program to keep the learning going for more than 25 Detroit youth.
Detroit Horse Power is currently working with city government to gain approval for a new permanent horse barn in Detroit. This represents a tremendous opportunity to turn the burden of Detroit's vacant land into a community asset. We are excited to move forward with site selection, community engagement, facility design, city approval, and further pilot programming in 2018 and beyond.